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Compassion for Others

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Our religion focuses on hope. We are constantly reminded to count our blessings and be positive during trials. However, I think we then sometimes forget to be compassionate toward those who are struggling or suffering. We spout off doctrinal phrases and optimistic comments that are insensitive. For example:
  • "You can have more children."
  • "It's about time you marry/remarry."
  • "It's not like that is a major sin."
  • "You need to stop thinking about it."
  • "I went through the same thing and it turned out ok."
We should validate what others feel, even if we think they are overreacting, obsessing, wallowing, etc. To them, their thoughts and emotions are very real. We cannot dictate what they should feel or when they should feel it: everyone responds to trials differently, and what we think is right may not be right for someone else. If we think someone is being self-destructive, we should inform the bishop. He has the authority to discuss the problem with them and help them find strength and comfort through Christ's Atonement. What we can do is pray for them, serve them, listen to them without judgment, talk to them with sensitivity, support them, and be a good example to them.

The ultimate example of compassion was the Savior. He never minimized people's pain. When his friend Lazarus died, he did not say to Mary and Martha, "You'll see him again," "Death is part of the plan of salvation,"  "He is in a better place," "It was his time," or "I need him more than you do." No, "Jesus wept" (John 11:35). He sympathized with them even though he knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead. Let us all follow the Lord's example and show true compassion to those in need.

Sharing Time: When you were experiencing trials, what did someone do for you that you really appreciated?


Mrs. Sanchez said…
Great post and example of how Jesus responded to Mary and Martha's grief.

I have not yet experienced any great trials, at least none that I have let others experience with me. Silence, tears and prayer are easy for me to do when others are visibly experiencing great grief. I think I need to work on responding to trials which seem "smaller" to me. It is easy to want to find a solution. That is not our job. And as you pointed out, dismissing the problem isn't our job either, nor is it helpful.

Thanks for the insights. :)
Kim said…
When our daughter Jessica had surgery, it was very difficult for me to see her in so much pain. I was staying with her in the hospital and I was pregnant. I had miscarried just a year earlier and was afraid I was going to miscarry again. It was a very lonely feeling for me to be sitting in the hospital with a sick child and being pregnant only intensified this feeling. The rest of my family was home in Oneida, while I was at Children's Hospital in Milwaukee (2 hours away). Then, to my surprise, one of the sisters from our stake came to visit. She lived an hour away and she knew that Jessica was having surgery, so she came to visit. It was a welcomed visit. That visit has meant so much to me and I will never forget her for coming to my rescue that day. She will be forever my angel.

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